Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Best Homeschool Strategies: DON'T ROB YOUR CHILD OF BLESSING and SUCCESS

Part 2 in the series, "My Best Homeschool Strategies." Click Here for Part 1.

2. Don't Rob Your Children of Blessing and Success


It's true. God gives children only one very direct and specific commandment, just for them. And with it comes a promise of amazing blessing if they keep that commandment.

Honor thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Deuteronomy 5:16

And don't tell me "That's Old Testament!"  Because here is Paul teaching  it again in the New:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
HONOUR THY FATHER  AND MOTHER; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
Ephesians 6:1-3

Now, before we go further, let's look up that Hebrew word, "Well," and see what it means that it will go "well" with our children  if they honor and obey their parentsHappy, sound, successful, thriving, prosperous, be accepted, benefit, be better, seem the best, cheerful, comely, content, diligent, dressed well, earnest, has favour, gives, is glad, does good, is good, makes good, is merry, kind, skillful, sure, sweet (as in riches or prosperity), thorough.

Oh, I want that for my children.

Do you teach them about this promise? This most important of God's wisdom and ways for children?  Do you explain to them how it protects them, and ensures their future--because God's promises are sure? Do you show them how it aligns with everything wise in Proverbs--the art of listening, inclining your heart to wisdom, accepting correction and counsel? It is the way of God.

I teach it.  I tell them that their father and I are not perfect, and that we are going to make mistakes, and we are going to disappoint them and hurt them at times. But if they love GOD, then they will believe this commandment and promise and obey it to choose GOD--not for my sake, but for the sake of learning the ways of God. And when I do mess up, I tell them I'm sorry and ask forgiveness. But at the same time... I encourage them always to claim this promise.

And now, oh how exciting to see my two oldest children REAPING this promise!  My son struggled with  a personality clash with his dad during the teen years. Polar opposites in personality. Completely unable to communicate. Lots of frustration on both parts. But I never once robbed my son of his promise. I never took my son's side over my husband's. I went to my son, and read to him of the commandment and promise, and appealed to his heart to choose. I encouraged him to forgive, and trust God, and keep his heart from anger and rebellion, choose wisdom, choose correction, choose humility, choose to listen.  

And he did.  And oh, it is starting to go well.  He graduated college at age 19--and was the top student in every class he took (and he's no academic whiz! He is WISE because he chooses God). He has gotten promoted at his first "real" job.  And I am able to tell him: You know why it is going well for you, don't you? Because you kept God's commandment and you are collecting on the promise.

My daughter is just starting to collect on the promise, too, as she is entering that  last phase into adulthood. At 14 years old, when she she  needed a job to help fund a planned choir tour to Spain, one dropped at her doorstep--literally. We live in the middle of nowhere, and she can't drive, and me driving her to a job would have been difficult. But the neighbors, who own a huge whitetail deer farm, called out of the blue and offered her a job to come help with fawning season. She could ride the 4-wheeler up to their farm! She made over $1,000 for her trip. And when that job ended (until fawning season next year!), she was pondering how she could ever find another job, when the phone rang, and she got a part-time "nanny" job that works perfectly with all our schedules and pays VERY well.  How did she get this job? Her older brother used to have these people as a lawn-care client. They knew him and his character--so they knew they certainly wanted to check out if his sister was cut from the same cloth. Another way she is thriving: she was offered a paid internship position as assistant director here at our local children's choir (she participated in it years ago before she auditioned for a more professional choir in the "big city"). Many college music students would compete for such an opportunity.  But here she is, fourteen years old, assistant director of an established and respected children's chorus organization, on their board, and paid.  And I am able to tell her: You know why it is going well for you, don't you? Because you are keeping God's commandment and you are starting to collect on His promise.

Another interesting observation occurred this week.  I had the opportunity to have a long talk with my oldest son on a long drive.  I asked him how work was going, and he vented some frustrations that the young men he works with, although they respect him, they sometimes say with  disgust, "You're the best at everything."  Yes, he has the fastest time on rescue drills, he gets the  top scores on safety/procedure tests, he beats them when they race, he wins fooz-ball, and air hockey, and when they play golf, they say, "Of course we can't beat you. You're the best at everything."

Truth is, he's an average kid. A good kid. But yes, there is a difference.

First of all, look at that definition  of the word "well."  Did you notice the words "be better, " or "seem the best?"  The evidence of this promise is clear in my son's life.

But it makes sense.  He grew up choosing  to respect authority, LISTEN, learn, "incline his ear" and his heart to wisdom.  Many kids grow up not caring. They don't learn to listen. They don't habitually obey authorities, or even recognize authority. They don't respect.  Is it any surprise, then, that the one who has the habit of honoring, listening, watching,  and learning is the one who will "be the best" at something?  Why does he play golf better? Probably because whenever he was around someone who played golf, he listened, watched, paid attention. Why does he win a 1/4 mile race? Because he has inclined his ear to wisdom, and obeyed his parents when we told him to curb his appetite for some things, so instead of being an out-of-shape video-game/TV/computer addict who eats poorly and drinks/does drugs, he chooses good activities, works to help other people (yard work, firewood, help mending fences, building  barns, painting, etc.).

Teach your children this commandment and promise. Teach them God's Word!  Tell them of the goodness of God. Explain to them that it's not about you, but about God, and His plan for their best life. Teach them how it is all about learning to be like Jesus--learning to obey, serve, be humble, and accomplish the will of the Father. Pray each night with them that they will love and obey God, and honor and obey their father and mother.  During the day, say sweetly to your little ones when you ask them to do things, "Let's obey God, and you remember how important it is to obey mommy!"

This is God's plan. He designed families for this. Your child's fleshly nature will make it seem like your child is uncontrollable, unmanageable, rebellious, crazy, undicsciplined, but your child's heart is hungry for God and His ways.  That uncontrollable child, deep down, really is just seeking for that boundary that God designed for him to need. Give it to him--the boundary of your loving authority, and your child will be at peace.

I get accused, of course, of "brainwashing" my children. I know I'm not.  I'm giving them what they long for. God, and His ways. God, and all He designed for them. Peace, prosperity, success, happiness. And how can it be called "brainwashing" if I'm doing  what  God commands me to do--teach my children diligently the  ways of God, all through  the  day while we're doing everything?

I knew a family once, whose little girl grew to a teen and she fell to the wayside. They took her to church (where the kids in the youth group helped her further down the path of destruction). They took her to hours of counseling.  But God's ways are simple. Easy to understand. Children can understand God's commandments to them.  The only counsel that should have been given this girl is that the ONLY way to get back on the right path to life was to start honoring and obeying her parents, in faith, in obedience to God.  Honor her parents. Obey her parents. Very simple. Everything would have been fixed. It would have corrected the attitude of rebellion, which was the root of the  problem. It is the root of all failure.

Why? Rebellion is the root of sin, and our loving God will chastise those who rebel--because He longs for them to return to Him and the goodness of His perfect ways.

I am able to point out examples to my children--sometimes ambiguous (like the "bad guy" in a movie, such as "Syndrome" from "The Incredibles), sometimes more personal, someone in a newspaper story (like a bank robber), or someone we know, whose life is not going well.  With confidence, I can tell my children, "That person did not love God and obey God when they were a child--they did not honor and obey their parents." "They did not listen, they did not choose wisdom."

My 4yo and 5yo, their eyes will grow big, and round, and serious, and they will nod their head gravely.  Their spirit discerns. God designed them to know and understand wisdom.

But sadly, too many children don't get offered it. They are left to their sin nature.

Oh... if you had to choose what was most important to teach your children, doesn't it make sense to teach what GOD says is most important to teach your children.

Until you are teaching this, put away everything else. Seriously. Or you will be just spinning your wheels, wasting your time, until your child is old enough to leave home and go be foolish on his own.

And an extra note to mamas:  Your attitude towards your husband can rob your children of this. I'm not just talking about you bad-mouthing or criticizing daddy to your kids. I'm talking about even your tone of voice and facial expressions that your children will see when you talk to your husband. If you don't respect him, will they? And if they don't... they are robbed of this promise.

Don't leave this out of your homeschooling. Ever.

If you want your children to grow up and prosper, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou so much for this which I really needed to hear. God Bless you and your family.